Commissioners' Meeting Minutes - January 10, 2017
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Penobscot County Commissioners' Meeting Minutes January 10, 2017 #2121
9:00 AM Commissioner’s Tom Davis, Laura Sanborn and Peter Baldacci.
Approval of Minutes-
Commissioner Davis made a motion to approve the January 3, 2017 minutes. Commissioner Sanborn seconded the motion. Vote to approve passed 3-0.
Director Chad LaBree updated the Commissioners on a radio failure that occurred last Thursday.This failure was at Bull Hill and it took out all of our Northern communications.Service wasn’t brought back on line until last night. We had climbers up there chipping ice last week.We looked at the lines over the weekend and everything appeared fine.We replaced the cone on the antenna yesterday and inspected it when they got it on the ground.There was a hairline fracture in it that let the water in.It was replaced by another vender who was in the area and had a spare that we’ve borrowed until we can get a replacement.We are now waiting for a quote from Whitten’s to replace it.As soon as this was discovered, we opened up our backup center and were able to continue communications throughout the weekend.The backup is located at Belfast Hall.Commissioner Baldacci asked Chad if there are any precautions we can take to avoid this in the future.Chad responded that there is no way to protect it.Placing something over the antenna would distort the signal.Chad is looking at several options with Whitten’s and Atlantic Communications to consider.One suggestion is keeping some of these parts on hand.Commissioner Davis feels this would be advantageous.Chad also recommends having a backup radio too.We have fourteen in use but no spare.He is getting quotes for the cone and backup radio. This event proved the backup system does work.We found some issues that need to be updated.
Chad also advised the Commissioners on the status of his staffing.He had four candidates for three openings.One did not pass their background and the others decided not to take the positions for various reasons.He has reached out to several other centers and they are having the same staffing issues.
The Quality Assurance staff person has started. Our 911 bureau audit came out perfect.They are very happy with what we are doing here.Chad discussed doing Quality Assurance for other PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) possibly for a fee.
Chad reports year end stats that reflect this is the biggest year yet.We fielded 42 K, 911 calls for Penobscot County.Just under 75 K law enforcement calls, over 6.5 K fire calls and 19 K, EMS calls.Staff did over 15 K, EMD calls.Chad said kudos to his staff for keeping their heads above water, staying positive while being short staffed, long hours and extra hours.Staff stepped up this weekend during the radio failure.
Chad discussed the 911 surcharge and feels we should be cautious.
Chad informed Commissioners of the first Board of Directors meeting for the year 2017 is tomorrow in the Commissioners Chambers.
Unorganized Territory Update-
Director Barbara Veilleux presented the Commissioners with a copy of the details of the settlement agreement between PERC and MRC (Municipal Review Committee).Nothing needs to be done.This is just informational.
Barbara and George updated the Commissioners on the problems that occurred in Greenfield with trash that hadn’t been picked up. What George determined is their pick up is on Friday.The storm on Thursday may have buried a lot of the trash cans that were put out.
George reports there have been a lot of complaints on the roads in Prentiss.He’s been here nine years and has never seen that.The plow contractor got behind during the ice storm three weeks ago.The roads got some build up and then this last ice storm a week ago, resulted in the poorer road conditions. The plow contractor has over 40 miles of road to maintain and during the last storm two out of four trucks broke down.Now the roads are a mess with ruts.George finds that is what people complain about the most.They have taken a grader to get to some of the rough parts. They have the grader all ready to go and with the storm that is coming in the next couple of days. George met with the plow contractor yesterday and checked all their equipment to make sure it is up and running for the next storm.They have been given extra salt.George and Commissioner Davis discussed the sand situation and the possibility of getting more.George will look into.
Sheriff Department Update-
Sheriff Morton reports jail count is 177.155 males and 22 females and 39 boarded out.
Sheriff informed the Commissioners of a situation at the jail Friday night, January 6.We had just over two hundred in-house as the court sent in 12 new stay of executions Friday and with multiple arrests on top of it, inside was just chaos.It’s not necessarily the numbers but the people; who they are and the special needs that they come with takes so much time.Sheriff had to have a teletype sent out to tell other police departments not to send anymore.Maine pretrial has 55.
The Sheriff stressed that something has to be done to stop stay of sentences as somebody is going to overdose due to bringing in contraband.There are three or four a week in this area of someone overdosing. The Sheriff is afraid someone is going to overdose in our jail.Sheriff is concerned that no one is listening.
He spoke with Bruce Poliquin’s office yesterday and they asked what they could do to help and Sheriff told them they can buy him a body scanner for $250 K.Sheriff presented an image from a scan done on someone he had to send to Somerset.Any foreign objects would show in the scan.Sheriff has been looking for grants to help pay for a full body scanner.He hasn’t found any grants yet in this area.According to his conversation with Somerset, they scan everyone coming in so they aren’t experiencing contraband.People know not to bring it in.
Sheriff Morton relayed that the courts are talking with him about the stay of executions.They are considering a stay of execution should turn themselves in to the court on a certain day.Then they would be taken from the court directly to the jail.We hope that this would help prevent the people from being under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Sheriff let the Commissioners know that CHP, which is the medical provider for the jail has a concern with student nurses from Husson University and University of Maine. Currently student nurses can come complete an internships at the Jail.CHP has done an overhaul of their operations nationwide and no longer agree that intern nurses should work here with their staff.The interns do blood pressures and check vital signs.CHP has decided student nurses cannot do anything hands on but can continue to observe.Sheriff said that doesn’t meet the criteria of what the nursing students need for credentials.CHP has asked if the County would assume the liability risk of these student nurses.County Administrator Bill Collins pointed out that the Commissioners do not have the authority to assume the risk.Sheriff, Commissioners and Bill continued a short discussion on what risks.The Commissioners would like to see CHP work this out with the Universities as this is a valuable program.
Sheriff Morton shared some year-end statistics with the Commissioners.The average daily jail count for the year was 191.93.The average daily male count was 154 and the average female count was 37.
County Administrator Bill Collins wanted the agenda amended as it listed the Executive Session to be a Personnel Matter whereas it should state a Legal Matter.
Executive Session- Commissioner Baldacci made a request to go into Executive Session to discuss a legal matter of Acquisition of Real Property under 1 MRSA § 405(6)(C) at 10:00 am. The Commissioners, Mr. Collins, Attorney Ed Bearor and Sheriff Troy Morton were in attendance. Executive Session ended at 10:25 am with no votes taken.
Payroll warrant approved for $232,376.27.
Accounts Payable warrant approved for $58,160.99.
The Unorganized Territory Warrant approved for: $123,960.36.
Payroll change notice signed for: J Guy.
Compensation notice signed for: DJ Bowden 3.0 hours.
Bill reports on page three of the January 3, 2017 minutes there should be a correction. The DA Carry Forward Request reads the amount of $8,963.85 and it should read $18,963.85.
MCCA (Maine County Commissioner's Association) meeting tomorrow in Augusta.
Bill passes out kudos for DJ Bowden and Judy Alexander for their work last week. Bill mentioned that Judy wasn’t at the meeting because we couldn’t close year end due to a software glitch. They had to do a lot of work to get this corrected. DJ worked up to the eleventh hour in order to get our payroll out. Let the record reflect a well-deserved Thank You for the work they each did last week.
Bill mentioned that even though we had a lot of rain the good news is that the work recently completed by Roof Systems resulted in zero leaks at the Post Office. In the spring we will take another look for a more permanent solution.
Bill attended the funeral service for Bill Igoe last week, long time electrical contractor for the County.
Bill received a call from a Lucille Bard. The purpose of her call was to explore a tax abatement appeal. Ms. Bard owns property on what is known as the Chain of Islands in the Millinocket area. According to her, the island her property is on is the furthest out. Her comment was it is the least accessible of the islands. It depends on the time of year how accessible it is or isn’t. She received a large increase on the valuation this year. Commissioner Baldacci asked if she has made an appeal to the State of Maine. Bill reports that she has and it was denied. Bill did make her aware there is a time period she must meet if she chooses to appeal to the Commissioners.
Bill made the Commissioners aware there is an abatement request from Kenduskeag
This Thursday, Bill and Judy are conducting interviews.
Bill will be at a Maine Town, City and County Managers committee meeting Friday at the MMA (Maine Municipal Association) office in Augusta.
Bill gave the Commissioners copies he received from Kennebec County Administrator Bob Devlin yesterday. Apparently Somerset County is actively lobbying the legislature to set a boarding fee of $90 per bed per inmate.
Bill informs the Commissioners that we now have Wi-Fi in our Wellness Center.The purpose for this is so employees can use their devices to listen to music while at the Center.Cliff wanted to make us aware that they could access inappropriate sites.The Commissioners are still Okay with the use of WIFI in the Wellness Center.
Bill reports an issue he was made aware of yesterday. The air in Deeds is very dry. They would like to bring their own humidifier in. The Commissioners said no. Commissioner Baldacci said determine what temperature the heat is set on. Commissioner Davis pointed out that bringing in personal humidifiers could be bringing in bacteria. If need be, we would supply the humidifier. Bill will check into this.
Bill relayed a message to the Commissioners of a concern from a citizen that they cannot obtain an annual report from Carroll Plantation. Barbara Veilleux has attempted to call the Town but no one answers the telephone when the MMA book shows they are open. The Commissioners recommended having the correspondence forwarded to the town Tax Collector Holly Worster and ask her to respond to it.
Meeting Adjourned- The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 am with no further business on the agenda.
Penobscot Count Administrator
Peter K. Baldacci, Chairman
Laura J. Sanborn, Commissioner
Thomas J. Davis, Jr., Commissioner